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Ford's Start Concept, the showcase for the company's upcoming three-cylinder EcoBoost engine
New EcoBoost engine is expected to replace Ford's naturally aspirated 1.6-liter inline-4 engine

When we've talked about Ford's EcoBoost turbocharged engines in the past, it pertained to four-cylinder and six cylinder engines. Ford claims that its four-cylinder EcoBoost engines give the power and performance of a six-cylinder, while the six-cylinder EcoBoost engines give the power and performance of an eight-cylinder engine.

So we're assuming that Ford's new three-cylinder EcoBoost will give the performance of a small four-cylinder engine. The new 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine is expected to have CO2 emissions of less than 100g/km -- it is also said to generate around 120 hp.

According to Ford, the EcoBoost three-cylinder engine would be a prime candidate to replace the naturally aspirated 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine in the upcoming Fiesta. The 1.6-liter engine in the Fiesta generates 119 hp and delivers fuel economy ratings of 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.

The numbers generated by the 1.6-liter engine are already quite good compared to its competition, but with the added cost and complexity of using turbocharging technology, we'd hope that the EcoBoost three-cylinder would be able to net at least another 5+ mpg in both the city and on highway.

“Ford engineers have experimented with the idea of a three-cylinder engine for the past twenty years, but felt the power that could be achieved from such an engine configuration couldn't be made substantial enough to offer a practical solution for smaller vehicles,” said Ford in a press release. “That's all changed with the advanced yet affordable Ford EcoBoost technology.”

While the EcoBoost three-cylinder engine is the main news here, the engine is featured with a futuristic design study from Ford: the Start Concept. The Start Concept is merely a design exercise and has no chance of seeing future production.

"As a team, we engaged in a philosophical discussion that yielded a common vision. To create a beautiful object that spoke to us emotionally as well as intellectually", explains Freeman Thomas, design director. "The exterior design is simple with purposeful proportions and refined surface language normally found on vehicles in premium segments."

The exterior of the Start Concept is definitely interesting, but hopefully this design language won't filter down to future Ford vehicles.

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120 HP Vehicle
By lightfoot on 4/22/2010 2:16:44 PM , Rating: 2
When I'm looking at vehicles with 120 or less HP there is only one question I ask: Does it mow grass or plow sidewalks? If this does both, then I think Ford might have a real winner on their hands.

RE: 120 HP Vehicle
By Samus on 4/22/2010 3:10:18 PM , Rating: 3
I owned a 1.5L Mazda Protege with 96hp a decade ago, and it was one of the best cars I've ever owned.

It wasn't a rice burner like a Civic S, but it also got 35mpg hwy, 30mpg city, really good numbers for a car bigger than a Civic, and due to its low weight (2900lbs) for its class, was plenty powerful. It's top speed was around 95mph.

High HP engines are nice, but not completely neccessary. For a student or occasional driver, the 1.5L Protege was just fine.

Also keep in mind that for years the Mazda Miata had a 120HP 1.8L engine and could best a Mustang V8 in the slalom.

RE: 120 HP Vehicle
By AssBall on 4/22/2010 3:33:12 PM , Rating: 2
The Protege's were nice practical cars, they weren't "slow", and had well done transmissions imo.

RE: 120 HP Vehicle
By Spuke on 4/22/2010 5:12:45 PM , Rating: 2
What model year Protege was it? I don't remember them having only 96 hp. Was this a non-US model?

The Protege's were nice practical cars, they weren't "slow", and had well done transmissions imo.
I had a 1989 VW with 98 hp, was lighter than that Protege and it was slow as hell. It got the job done though but its purpose was to get me from point A to point B on the cheap. In hindsight, I should've bought the '89 Civic Si instead. That was a much more fun car. The VW was slow AND boring.

RE: 120 HP Vehicle
By Targon on 4/22/2010 6:54:20 PM , Rating: 2
By slow, I am guessing that you mean the acceleration sucked. In many cases, cars are tuned at the factory to perform a certain way, and that is where some misconceptions come from. It IS possible to adjust these settings to provide a bit better performance in a number of cases, but it is all about knowing how to perform the update without screwing something up.

RE: 120 HP Vehicle
By Spuke on 4/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: 120 HP Vehicle
By wired00 on 4/28/2010 2:49:32 AM , Rating: 2
[quote]So with some magical adjustments, you can make a 96hp car fast. Yeah right and yes I read what you posted. Sorry but a bit better performance from a 96 hp car still equals a slow car. I've owned a few slow cars, they are what they are. Not a big deal.[/quote]

Its called the final drive and other gear ratios in the gear box.

RE: 120 HP Vehicle
By MonkeyPaw on 4/22/2010 5:22:32 PM , Rating: 2
I had a 1997 Protege that was just replaced in 2009. It did a good job, getting about 30mpg regardless of driving condition. The MPG suddenly dropped into the teens, and we found that it needed about $1500 in repairs, so we traded it in on a Suzuki SX4. Our goal is to get a nice car and run it into the ground, but alas, our SX4 was totaled a month after we bought it!

RE: 120 HP Vehicle
By afkrotch on 4/22/2010 8:34:16 PM , Rating: 2
If they brought some of the other Japanese cars over, wonder how they'd do. I had a 92 Daihatsu Mira J Turbo before. 3 cyclinder, 0.6L, with 65 hp. Course the car was light enough for some amateur weightlifters to bench.

RE: 120 HP Vehicle
By Alexvrb on 4/22/2010 9:27:14 PM , Rating: 2
Modern safety standards (and expected modern "standard features"). You'd end up with something bigger, heavier, and with a more powerful engine to make up for the weight. In other words, back to where we stand now.

RE: 120 HP Vehicle
By afkrotch on 4/23/2010 1:23:05 AM , Rating: 2
Install a rollcage, viola. Good to go.

RE: 120 HP Vehicle
By Alexvrb on 4/24/2010 3:33:52 PM , Rating: 2
Great, then you've got another Mini Cooper, only minus airbags. Rollcage doesn't help with secondary impact. Hit something immobile, or of considerably greater mass, and you'll be wishing you had crumple zones, air bags, and more of both. I think even a Honda Fit gets better overall crash ratings than a Mini Cooper.

RE: 120 HP Vehicle
By Alexvrb on 4/22/2010 9:46:40 PM , Rating: 2
The only Protege motor I have been impressed by was a DOHC 1.8L I owned a long time ago. It was a considerably more powerful engine (IIRC about 125 ponies), which was a decent amount for a small naturally aspirated 4 cyl back in the early 90s. So in the lightweight Protege, it was pretty quick. Reliable car too, well except for its tendency to break CV axles and some niggling electrical issues involving the seatbelt motors and sunroof.

RE: 120 HP Vehicle
By Samus on 4/22/2010 10:45:54 PM , Rating: 1
I was referring to my 98 Protege. The last of the Gen2 platform. Gen 3 99-03.5 brought modern 1.6 and 2.0l engines with coilpack ignition, etc.

But Gen1 had a 1.8l SOHC with decent power. Gen2, however, had the 1.8l DOHC MX-5 Miata engine which had a turbo manifold (easy bolt-on turbo) which caused a lot of Protege folks to toast their transmission syncronizers. Having boost in a Protege was a joke anyway, there was no LSD to deal with the torque.

However, 95% of Gen 2 Protege's, 95-98, had 1.5l DOHC (code Z5) motors, which were exceptionally reliably and VERY fast reving due to very short stroke. The best part is they weren't interference motors (most Mazda motors aren't) like many cheaper motors at the time, especially Korean motors.

But, as I said, it has 96hp, 92 tq. It didn't feel slow because it reved quick and redlined high, and looking back on it was probably grossly misrated. The point is, it got over 30MPG regardless of how much you beat the shit out of it, and considering the size of the car (between a civic and accord) and the safety equipment and built quality, it was an exceptional vehicle and I STILL see lots of gen2's around...mostly automatic.

RE: 120 HP Vehicle
By Alexvrb on 4/24/2010 3:40:51 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't say the gen 2 1.5L DOHC was garbage, far from it. I am saying it never impressed me in terms of performance, not like their older 1.8 DOHC did back in '92.

RE: 120 HP Vehicle
By piroroadkill on 4/23/2010 4:27:05 AM , Rating: 2
I drive a van with 59hp when it was new, and it's now 13 years old, and it feels fine (it's not particularly light). 120hp in a light vehicle is more than fast enough

RE: 120 HP Vehicle
By mrzed on 4/23/2010 1:50:11 PM , Rating: 2

The rest of the world uses cars mainly for transportation. Up here in Canuckistan, I drive a 1993 passat diesel that makes 90hp in a mid-sized car. In Europe and Asia, normal family cars commonly make under or around 100hp.

If my 90hp can move my biggish sedan comfortably at 110kph, then 120 in a smaller car should be just fine. But it won't do much for the size of your member. For that, you need at least 200hp, preferably 300.

RE: 120 HP Vehicle
By Spuke on 4/23/2010 6:48:10 PM , Rating: 2
The rest of the world uses cars mainly for transportation.
No different here in the US for the most part BUT we do have a cultural affinity for cars that most of the world does not. So we have expectations that others may not have. No big deal, we're not all exactly the same you know.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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